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>Earth Hour flops again

>In typical fashion Big Environment is yet again ignoring the utter failure of Earth Hour by heralding the puny participation rate as a huge success.

I was privileged enough to receive an email from Earth Hour Australia with all of the details (I think one of my asshat lefty mates signed me up to wwf.org.au as a bit of a lark coz I never did).

Here’s the first paragraph, along with some analysis:

Wow, what a night!

It sure was! I invited a few mates around, had all of the lights on, turned on the BBQ (well, we did have an assortment of bits from farmyard animals to cook), all of the hot plates, the oven (admittedly, it was also used for cooking roast veggies) and the microwave (also admittedly, one of my mates suggested we heat up cups of water for no good reason other than we could; the man’s a veritable genius).

We hope that you enjoyed being part of the biggest Earth Hour ever.

It was that good I’m still recovering.

Earth Hour continues to be embraced by the global community, transcending race, culture and age.

Breathing and eating are also embraced by the global community and, funnily enough, also transcend race, culture and age.

A record 134 countries and territories on all 7 continents registered, with a whole host of countries officially joining for the first time (including Lebanon, Jamaica, Iran, Uganda, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Chad, Azerbaijan, Gibraltar, Palestine, Suriname, Uzbekistan, Trinidad & Tobago and Lesotho).

OK, I’ll play your silly game. Which country in Antarctica registered for Earth Hour? And what are the 62 countries that didn’t participate? That’s actually quite a few when you think about how easy it is to be involved in this pointless piece of environmental onanism.

Across Australia, over 300 schools, 152 councils, almost 2000 businesses, and 220 government departments across Australia officially signed up to take part, as well as thousands of individual Australians.

Wow! That’s amazing! What terrific penetration into society! Let’s run a few numbers, shall we?

There are, according to the ABS, 9468 schools in Australia so Earth Hour organisers did a sterling job to sign up a whopping 300. That’s 3% or, in IPCC terms, a consensus.

There are around 700 councils so 152 represents a mind blowing 22%. Given that councils are mostly run be leftist nitwits and are a haven for Green activists and the Climate Taliban I’m going to suggest that getting only 22% is actually a crap effort.

How many businesses are there in Australia? A heap. Over 2 million. To get a piddling 2000 of them to come on board, a microscopic 0.1%, doesn’t seem too spectacular to me. But hang on, you say, aren’t most of those small businesses and sole contractors? By jingo, you’re right, 80% of them are in that category so it’s really 2000 (assuming none are small businesses) out of 400,000 or 0.5%. Thanks for pointing that out!

I’ve got no idea how many government departments there are in Australia. Thousands, probably. But that’s a bit irrelevant because organisers could pick up 100 simply by having the federal government on board, which in these days of Carbon Tax wars is a dead certainty so no points for the Earth Hour people from that, either.

As I said, I complete joke. Tim Blair linked to a report that over 10 million Australians had participated. He correctly described it as a lie.

What a fantastic display of care and commitment to this planet we call home. Thank you for being part of it.

Hey, pal, let me tell you something. I care more for the environment than your entire cohort of envirofascists combined.

The command and control policies you support led to the greatest environmental destruction the world has ever seen. And, embarrassingly for your side, it took free market capitalism to clean it up. Not that you’d ever even admit to that even if you could understand how it did (and continues to do so to this very day).

But thanks for the comedy. Keep it coming.

(Nothing Follows)


Categories: Environment, Politics

>Japan’s nuclear non-story

>On 11 March a once in a lifetime magnitude 9.1 earthquake sent a wall of water hurtling towards Japan that would destroys hundreds of thousands of homes and take tens of thousands of lives.

By any definition, it’s a calamity.

What has also been a calamity has been the reporting. From the time it was announced that the nuclear power plant at Fukushima had been damaged the focus of the media turned from the massive human tragedy to overblown hysteria about the possibility of a nuclear meltdown and radiation throughout the world.

Even the normally reliable The Australian newspaper has fallen for the anti-nuclear agitprop:

People are in dire need and yet this is the sort of drivel we get.

To be clear: there is zero, zip, zilch, nada, nil, none, no problem for anyone living anywhere in the world outside of the perimeter of the compound itself. None.

I happened to have dinner with a scientist who is expert on these matters and helps oversee nuclear safety in Australia a week or so after the tsunami in Japan and he was even more apoplectic than I was (which I didn’t think was possible) about the media’s reporting.

Even my old mum asked me about what was going to happen when I was driving her home one day. She was genuinely surprised that I said it was all hooey and no problem for anyone other than the plant operators and, politically, the government.

Such is the media hype and scaremongering that even the most senior Japanese politicians have to be seen to be on top of the nuclear plant issue and ‘doing something’ to protect the citizens. To ‘do nothing’, even though nothing needs to be done, is to commit political harakiri.

The tragedy is twofold.

Firstly, the Japanese government’s attention is taken away, even for a short time, from the real task at hand and that is helping the people affected by the tsunami.

Secondly, those people who need help most from all over the world are not getting it due to the blanket media coverage of the nuclear non-event.

I agree with those who reckon that Fukushima will put back the nuclear debate in Australia by 10 years, such is the public’s lack of understanding of the reality of nuclear power.

However, what a fantastic example of the true safety of nuclear power we have seen. Faced with an earthquake of much higher magnitude than engineers ever anticipated and a tsunami nearly twice as high (10m vs 5.5m or so) as what the plant was designed for the thing still shut down in an orderly manner, minimising the possibility of a large problem. Certainly, there have been problems that have needed dealing with. Given the scale of the problem that hit them it’s hardly surprising.

But does the media tell us how remarkable a story this is of nuclear safety? No. Instead we get hysteria that radiation levels are 100,000 times normal while at the same time ignoring the fact that it’s still many orders of magnitude below the level needed to cause a problem.

It’s yet another example of how deeply the left’s messages and propaganda have seeped into society that normally rational people would be so concerned by what is only a serious local issue.

(Nothing Follows)


Categories: Japan, Media, Politics

>Socialism – before and after

>In the pictures tell a thousand stories category come some examples of the differences between countries before and after socialism was implemented.

After World War II Germany ended up being split in two with West Germany a free and democratic state and East Germany falling behind the Iron Curtain and into the control of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – the commies.

This allowed an interesting experiment to play out. Which country would prosper the most given they both had the same starting point in terms of ability of the population?

In 1991 the Berlin Wall fell and, for the first time, the West got a close up look at what had happened in the previous 45 years.

There are many examples of the differences between the two states but this is the most glaring to me.

Here’s the height of East German automotive engineering, the Trabant:

‘Powered’ by a thundering 1L motor that developed a mighty 19kW (26hp) it could race from 0-100km/h in 21 seconds before topping out at 112km/h. According to the Wikipedia entry:

There were two main problems with the engine: the smoky exhaust and the pollution it produced—nine times the amount of hydrocarbons and five times the carbon monoxide emissions of the average European car of 2007. The fuel consumption was 7 L/100 km (40 mpg-imp; 34 mpg-US). Since the engine does not have an oil injection system, two-stroke oil has to be added to the 24-litre (6.3 U.S. gal; 5.3 imp gal) fuel tank every time the car was filled up, at a 50:1 or 33:1 ratio of fuel to oil. Gas stations of the time in countries where two-stroke engines were common served premixed gas-oil mixture from the pump. Today, owners normally carry a container of two-stroke oil in the car for this purpose. The earlier models have no fuel gauge; a dipstick is inserted into the tank to determine how much fuel remains.

How completely awesome.

By contrast, here’s a highlight from the West German 1991 motor industry, the Mercedes 560SEC:

With a 32 valve 5.6L donk pumping out 235kW this beautiful beast could thunder to 100km/h in 5.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 280km/h.

How could this happen? How could people start from the same point but end up so far apart?

The answer is clear. Socialist – and other command and control – economies lack the feedback loop required to create the continuous improvement that comes from good, old fashioned competition.

There are so many examples where this has happened that it’s surprising anyone can still believe government intervention in the economy can be a good thing. Hello, Mr Krugman? Time for your reality check.

You’ll probably have seen this shocking photo of North and South Korea taken from an orbiting satellite that shows the difference between the two states in terms of electricity use, which is a proxy for economic development.

What’s remarkable is that it’s only 50-odd years since the end of the Korean War. In the South you see prosperity at a level never before experienced in that country while in the North you see poverty and depravity that has probably never before been experienced even under the cruelest of Chinese despots from days of yore.

These are extreme examples of the negative impact that governments can have on the lives of their citizens, which has given rise to the Tea Party in the United States and is driving a lot of the anti-government protests in Australia.

The point is that people understand that relationship. They can see the pernicious effects of the welfare state. They understand that redistribution of income ends up hurting everyone in the end as jobs evaporate and government debt starts to cause services to be reduced and interest rates to rise.

It’s not just socialist ideology that is the problem. Take, for example, the development of Pakistan and India. Created at a similar time to many other countries after World War II and starting with the same abilities of the people, Pakistan has turned into an economic basket case while India – once it started to unshackle itself from the anchor of socialism, which is an important point to note – has accelerated at a massive pace lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty. In Pakistan, like in many nations in Africa, corruption by government officials has a similar effect as having a socialist economy. When you combine the two, such as in Zimbabwe, then you simply hasten the collapse.


And let’s not mention the economic miracle in Israel, a country literally carved out of dirt, that makes its Arab neighbours look like something from the Stone Age.

It really does give one pause for thought.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Politics

>Labor’s Carbon Tax is really a redistribution of income scam

>Julia Gillard’s freakish political contortion, the likes of which have probably never before been seen in Australian politics, of breaking an election promise to not introduce a carbon tax, bowing to the radical Greens and then introducing a carbon tax can have no other outcome than increase the size of the Australian deficit and reduce employment.

Let’s assume that the amount raised from power companies by the carbon tax each year is $10 billion.

There are a number of groups that will be especially hurt by an increase in power prices – those at the low end of the income spectrum, trade exposed industries whose position against overseas competition will be damaged and small business, which seems to be a forgotten factor in the conversation so far.

It’s clear that the government can’t compensate all groups affected so let’s assume that they distribute the money to low income earners. Note that they are on record as saying that the money will not simply go into Treasury coffers so let’s also assume that it joins the short list of promises kept by this government since being elected in 2007.

The tax is introduced in 2011 and low income workers rejoice as they see the effects in their bank balances. They then feel the pain when they get their utilities bills but, being conscientious with their money and in no way tempted to buy more grog or smokes or stick it in the pokies or back something to beat Black Caviar*, they pay what they owe. So there’s no impact on them.

Power companies now have an incentive to reduce the amount of CO2 they produce, which is the whole point of the exercise and so they invest in clean technologies that have the effect of reducing CO2 emissions to zero thus fulfilling the government’s ambition.

Can you see the problem?

At this point the government will raise no money at all from taxing so-called ‘carbon pollution’, the cost of power will not be reduced due the investment made by power companies that needs to be paid for meaning that low income households will still need financial support to meet their utilities bills.

So the government now has a $10 billion hole in its budget. Is it going to fill the void by raising taxes or by increasing the deficit? Either way, the impact on employment is negative.

And while all that has been going on our trade exposed industries have been shedding jobs at a terrific rate to countries that are not bound by the onanistic impulses of the climate brigade.

So let’s give all of the money to trade exposed industries instead of low income workers.

The government gets stuck in the same cycle. When the power companies clean up their act the government will need to maintain support for trade exposed industries otherwise there’ll be a massive loss of jobs in a short time frame to overseas competitors. Not a palatable outcome for any politician.

And all the while small business is getting hammered and is shedding jobs.

So here’s Labor’s dirty, little secret. I’m going to shout it at you so that you can take it in.

Labor’s carbon tax CAN ONLY WORK IF POWER COMPANIES NEVER REDUCE THEIR CO2 OUTPUT.

The government knows this, of course, which is why it’s just a great, big, redistributionist scam but it also knows that its allies in the mainstream media won’t point it out to the voting public any time soon.

The result will be that the tax will be in place before an emissions trading scheme is introduced, which the government expects will continue to provide the revenue it needs.

And bad luck to the people who lose their jobs because of it.

* I don’t live in this world, either, but the good folk who create government budgets surely must.

(Nothing Follows)


>Why does the left wet its pants at the slightest hint of trouble?

>Remember the Bird Flu epidemic that was going to wipe out vast numbers of people, especially in Asia?

Remember the dire warnings about Swine Flu from the World Health Organisation and Joe Biden’s classic “I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined spaces…” line?

How did that whole heterosexual AIDS thing work out?

What about silicone breast implants? The most negative effect was to the aesthetic appeal of the bodies of those women who chose to get them.

From the population bomb leading to mass starvation to peak oil to the hysteria du jour, global warming, we have had no shortage of end of days scenarios to contend with.

Now we can add to the list the massive overreaction to what has essentially been a serious local problem at the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant that the Japanese have had pretty much under control from the start. That people in the US and Asia were running out and buying iodide tablets shows the massive influence of the mainstream media to panic the masses (or, at least, those masses prone to panic). I wonder what the result of a survey of the political affiliation of those buying the tablets would be.

US radio talk show host Dennis Prager constantly reminds people that the hysterics, who are mainly on the left, are wrong 99% of the time.

How can this be? What drives people to so badly overreact at the slightest whiff of difficulty? Why is the left so much more likely to get things so badly wrong than the right?

I presume it relates to the left’s tendency to seek to exert more and more influence over people’s lives and nothing provides more control than a potential extinction event.

While that might explain the political advantage the left seeks to gain from upheaval it doesn’t tell us why people get so genuinely frightened when there’s no rational reason to be so. It doesn’t explain why they get so angry and abusive when they’re called out on their poor judgements.

I don’t know what the answer is, either. What I do know is that there’s a high correlation between those who believe in global warming and those who thought that Fukushima was an existential threat to life everywhere.

Somehow, that doesn’t surprise me.

(Nothing Follows)


Categories: Politics

>Spot the inconsistency

August 3, 2010 1 comment

>Can you spot the inconsistency between the two short descriptions below?

I’ll give you some time before posting the answer.


UPDATE: Only one is described as “unelected”.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Politics

>Putting the US deficit into perspective

July 27, 2010 2 comments

>Need to raise revenue for the government?

That’s easy, simply tax the rich.

The United States, like the majority of Western nations, is spending itself into oblivion at worst and massive civil strife at best.

There is some good economic news. The red ink the US is swimming in is not as bad as projected in February. Yes, at $1.471 trillion, it’s still huge – 10 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product – but an improvement of $84 billion from earlier estimates.

But bad news still looms large. In the next fiscal year, according to the mid-season review released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Friday, the US deficit will be $150 billion more than earlier projections. It is expected to come in at $1.416 trillion, or 9.2 percent of GDP.

The White House, which released the change in budget estimates, was careful not to overplay the changing numbers.

“These are not substantial changes and nothing we want to make too big a deal about,” said Peter Orszag, director of the OMB in a press call with reporters. “The economy remains weaker than we would like and the unemployment rate higher than we would like.”

So, how the heck much is 1.4 trillion dollars?

Is it actually possible to increase taxes on the rich and deal with the debt (assuming that there’s no impact on employment or investment)?

I thought, why not simply confiscate all of the wealth that the rich have? That ought to solve all of the problems. Right?

I looked up the Forbes list of world’s billionaires that are domiciled in the United States and are doing business and paying taxes there.

The richest person on the 395 name list is Bill Gates with $53B, followed by Warren Buffett with $47B and a gap back to Larry Ellinson at $28B.

Now, here’s the kicker – and the sobering reality check for the soak-the-rich left – if you confiscated ALL of the wealth of these 395 people in order to fund the debt (which means it would need to be sold to overseas interests, of course, as there’d be nobody rich enough in the US to buy it anymore) then how much would you raise?

Ready?

1.328 trillion dollars.

You’d still need to find another $143B to break even for the year! And your wealth creators have now got nothing! Good luck with that…

Here’s another way of looking at that $1.471 trillion deficit.

Consider the following: there are 113,146,000 households in the US, which means that in just one year each household now has an extra $13,000 added to its debt. No wonder the Congressional Budget Office describes the debt situation as unsustainable.

Competition from emerging economies in China, India and Brazil, coupled with declining birth rates, undermine the modern Western (immoral) indulgence of giving people money who haven’t earned it while putting the bill onto the next generation…and the one after that…in a gigantic, populate or perish, Ponzi scheme.

2010 is a momentous year in world history, I believe, as history will mark it down as the year that the welfare state, in its current form, ended.

(Nothing Follows)

>Labor "moving forward" to victory

July 17, 2010 1 comment

>If there’s been a more banal political slogan in Australian history than Labor’s “moving forward” then please let me know.

The first poll published after the calling of the August 21 election comes from Galaxy and shows that the government holds on to its 52-48 lead.

I commented recently that before the last election, which Labor won with a 53-47 margin, their Betfair odds were $1.31.

The current odds are as follows:

The odds support the 52-48 poll so, unless one side or the other puts their foot in it big time, then we’ve got another three years of Labor government to look forward to. How much more debt will they be able to pile onto our kids? It’s remarkable that the modern, “progressive” left has no care for the financial health of the economies of which they’re supposed to be custodians.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Politics

>The A-Z of the Labor government’s incompetence

July 16, 2010 2 comments

>This one is doing the rounds of the Internet and highlights the absolute disaster that our Labor government has inflicted upon the poor, old taxpayer for the next umpteen years.

Rarely has a government promised so much, spent so much, said so much, and launched so many nationwide programs, and delivered so little value for money and expectation. Two years of Kevin Rudd has produced 20 years of debt, and most of it cannot be blamed on the global financial crisis. This alphabet soup is self-inflicted.

Asylum seekers. Unless the government can show otherwise, it appears that about 98 per cent of asylum-seekers are getting Australian residency. In contrast, the latest figures from the United Nations refugee agency show most asylum applications worldwide are rejected. The bulging Christmas Island detention centre has become a grossly expensive sham and a mockery of a core election promise.

Beijing. Supposedly Rudd’s strong point, the relationship with China deteriorated badly last year after a series of serious missteps with Beijing.

Computers in schools. A million computers promised to schools, one for every student. This turned out to be much harder than it sounded.

Debt and deficit. The Rudd government inherited a massive $90 billion financial firewall when it came to office, via a federal budget surplus, the Future Fund and two infrastructure funds. In two years the budget has gone from $20 billion in surplus to $58 billion in deficit. Net federal debt has gone from zero to a projection of between $130 billion and $180 billion. It took the previous government 10 years to dismantle the $96 billion debt mountain that it inherited. It took Rudd one year to build it back up again.

ETS. The Copenhagen climate conference was a disaster. Rudd’s emissions trading scheme is abstract, complex, expensive and polls show about 80 per cent of Australians do not understand or trust it. A T-shirt produced by Newcastle steelworkers distils the political problem: “Rudd’s ETS: Higher Prices. Lost Jobs. 0.001 degrees cooler.”

Fuelwatch. Big promise, empty outcome.

Grocerywatch. Ditto.

Hospitals. Ditto.

India disaster. Last year Australia degraded relations with the two emerging Asian superpowers.

Juvenile justice. The plight of young Aborigines is worse than ever, with ideology trumping pragmatism. Children are shipped off to violent foster families while government exhibits a mesmerised inertia in the face of pockets of endemic violence.

Kaiser. The aptly named Mike Kaiser, former ALP Queensland state secretary and state MP, became the umpteenth poster boy for the Labor patronage machine this month by landing a $450,000-a-year lobbying job with the national broadband network. The job was not advertised.

League tables. The government’s one-size-fits-all league tables for schools, plagued by glitches and misleading data, is another centralised scheme that serves as a substitute for tackling the union-imposed rigidities on teacher performance.

Migration. Permanent migration to Australia surged 550,000 during the first two years of the Rudd government, the highest two-year increase in history. This is at odds with the government’s rhetoric on reducing Australia’s carbon footprint. It was also never mentioned before the election.

National broadband network. Last year the Rudd government spent $17 million looking for a private partner to co-build the network. The process yielded nothing. The government will now build and operate the network itself at a cost of $43 billion. A money sink.

Opposition theft. The Rudd government inherited the strongest budget position and banking sector of any major Western economy, which protected Australia from the global financial crisis. The government pretends this was all its own work.

Power. The national solar power rebate is a political debacle. The GreenPower scheme has failed. The renewable energy trading certificates scheme is in disarray.

Question time. Question time has blown out by 50 per cent over its traditional running time because of long ministerial answers and incessant points of order, while the time devoted to answering real questions, rather than Dorothy Dixers, has shrunk to less than 30 per cent of question time; a blatant corruption of the process.

Roof insulation. Send in the fraud squad. A good idea gone bad. Rampant false billing and over-charging. Cowboys everywhere. People dead. Houses unsafe. Systemic overspending. A hapless bureaucracy detached from the realities of the building industry.

School spending. The $16 billion Building the Education Revolution scheme is bloated with systemic overspending and over-charging. The problems were encapsulated by a builder who told me: “My company is involved in the BER work and it involves mismanagement, overcharging, schools being railroaded into decisions not in their interests, all hidden behind a smokescreen. It is the country’s most expensive political stunt ever.” Another money sink.

Tax increases. The federal budget in May will begin to reveal the consequences of panic, hubris, overspending and waste as the government seeks to offset its profligacy with higher fees and taxes. Superannuation was just the start.

Union power. The unions, having bankrolled Labor’s election campaign in 2007, have received their payback, with an increase in union rights and powers. Union muscle-flexing is back, from the mining sector to small business. Endemic corruption, blackmail and violence in the building industry was finally curbed by the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Julia Gillard is shutting it down.

Vanity. See B, K, O, Q and U.
Whitlamesque. Spendthrift programs. Empty rhetoric. Self-congratulation. Deficit spending. Debt blowout. Two years of the Rudd government produces 20 years of debt and poses the question: worse than Whitlam?

X Y Z Generations X, Y and Z They will be stuck with the bill.

What amazes me is that Labor voters can read through this list and still manage to find positive things to say about the government such as the “Sorry” to the (non existent) Stolen Generations and, supposedly, keeping us out of recession.

All they’ve done is to ensure that we will have a weaker economy over the next couple of decades than we otherwise would have. They have guaranteed higher interest rates and higher unemployment, though the effects of those are still to hit.

China’s growth is said to be slowing. How much debt is this government going to have? $100B? $200B is probably closer.

It took 10 years to pay off Labor’s previous $100B debt. How long will it take to pay it off this time around?

The implementation of left wing policies can only lead to unwelcome, bordering on immoral, outcomes.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Politics

>Ongoing collapse of the UK

>Yet another example of the societal collapse in the UK:

A BBC commentator has apologised to a 16-year-old British tennis star after saying she had “puppy fat” on live television.

David Mercer made the remark while discussing Laura Robson’s weight as she played her second round juniors match at Wimbledon, The Sun newspaper reports.

“I suppose the one thing that I have at the back of my mind at the moment, is Laura mobile enough around the court?,” Mercer said.

“Perhaps a little puppy fat at the moment, the sort of thing you’d expect her to lose as she concentrates on tennis full-time.”

Robon said she was not fazed by the comments.

I’ve spoken to the guy who said it. It’s not a big deal,” Robson said.

“It’s just his opinion. You know, I don’t really care.”

Since when has it become politically incorrect to use the term ‘puppy fat’???

These people are crazy and the UK is doomed.

Good to see that the kid herself is not in the least bit offended by it all, which must annoy those self-appointed overseers of society who make a living by being offended on behalf of everybody else.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Politics, United Kingdom